Sunday, February 20, 2011

Martha Washington's Devil's Food Cake for President's Day

Martha Washington was known for entertaining, and who better than to put forth a recipe for Devil's Food Cake than the First First Lady. Her Devil's Food Cake is a classic chocolate-buttermilk cake that has been handed  down through the generations, republished (with variations) by baking chocolate companies and appearing on thousands of websites. President's Day is a celebration of Presidential Birthdays, and this is the perfect Birthday Cake.

Recipe  from Capitol Hill Cooks: Recipes from the White House, Congress and All of the Past Presidents by Linda Bauer (Taylor, 384 pp., $26.95). The collection of appetizers, entrees, sides and desserts, from two centuries worth of politicos, is a benefit for Homes for Our Troops, which helps injured veterans build or adapt their homes for handicapped accessibility.

Martha Washington's Devil's Food Cake

Ingredients
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, divided
1/2 cup cake flour, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 eggs, well beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-15-inch pan or two 9-inch cake pans.
2. Melt chocolate in a double boiler. Add 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup buttermilk, and stir until sugar is dissolved. Cool.
3. Sift flour once, measure, add baking powder, baking soda and salt and sift together three times.
4. Cream butter thoroughly. Add 3/4 cup sugar gradually, and cream together until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat well. Add about a quarter of the flour mixture, mix thoroughly. Add chocolate mixture and blend. Add remaining flour, alternately with buttermilk, a small amount at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Add vanilla.
5. Pour batter into greased pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until done. Let cool. When completely cooled, trim edges and cut rectangular cake in half crosswise to make a two-layer cake. Fill and frost with icing of your choice.


Illustration: San Jose Mercury News Staff

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just out of curiosity, how did Martha Washington bake this cake? In a wood fired stove - oven? How long would it have taken?

~~louise~~ said...

GREAT cake, Janet!!!

Thanks for sharing...